Travel, Teach, Live in Thailand
Like many other Asian destinations, Thailand is generally safe with little health risks to worry about for the average Western tourist. However, it is a good idea to know in advance what are the potential health risks and to preventive measures you can take.
You do not need to bring your supply of nonprescription medicine with you into Thailand as there are many pharmacies available in the streets. Most of these pharmacies are open from 8:30 AM to 8 PM daily. They are usually well stocked with many medicines which are cheaper as compared at your home country.
Pharmacies are the best place to stock up on Western medicines and products if you are traveling to a more secluded area. There will be usually an English-speaking pharmacist available at all pharmacies to assist you. Talk to them if you're sickness is not serious enough to see a doctor.
In many major big cities in Thailand, the British pharmacy chain, Boots, runs a 24 hour help line for health related issues. You can call them at 1800 200444 or 022330575.
As for hospitals in Thailand, their hygiene and healthcare standards are considered good enough. The doctors there generally can speak English quite well. There are several hospitals in Bangkok that are considered top-notch. All the provincial capital would have had at least one hospital. In case of emergency, you can ask the hotel or resort you're staying at for advice and possibly for transport to the nearest hospital.
If in the event of a major health crisis, you should contact your embassy in your travel insurance company immediately. If necessary, fly back to Bangkok.
In the past few years, there have been outbreaks of avian influenza or bird flu that has resulted in some human deaths. So far, then have been no known human to human transmission of bird flu cases in Thailand. So the health risk is considered low.
It's best to avoid visiting any live animal markets where you can come into close contact with birds just to be safe. Always check that the poultry and egg dishes are well cooked.
For the average person traveling to Thailand from the West, there is no need for any inoculation requirements. However, before departing to Thailand, you should consult your doctor at least four weeks before your trip. Your doctor or the health professional will be able to advise on the latest information on immunization.
Many doctors would advise vaccination or prevention against polio, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B and rabies. Currently there is no vaccine against malaria. However, if you need to, you can have your inoculations done in Bangkok.
During the rainy season, mosquitoes are rampant in Thailand. Mosquitoes can spread malaria and dengue fever. It's best to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes if possible. So you should spray yourself and your clothes with mosquito repellent regularly. Most shops, accommodations and departmental stores in Thailand are well stocked with mosquito repellent.
When you're sleeping at night, you should be under a mosquito net sprayed with mosquito repellent. If you are in a bed room, you should have mosquito screens on the windows.
Generally, hotels or resorts in tourist spots always provide screens or mosquito nets. Just make sure that you check them for any holes. In the event you are going off track, you can get your own mosquito net in Bangkok easily. Plug in insecticide vaporizer, insect sprays and mosquito coils are also easily available in Thailand. Usually the electronic buzzers are useless in keeping Thailand mosquitoes away.
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